Brown strikes again, nabs Boatyard

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Real estate investor adds to robust Siesta Key-area list of acquisitions with purchase of strip of businesses near south bridge

By John Morton

Chris Brown’s Siesta Key-area real estate portfolio continues to grow, and his recent purchase of the 2.03-acre village of businesses where the Boatyard Waterfront Bar and Grill is located adds a high-profile property that packs a punch.

Brown

“I like one-off properties that you cannot replicate,” said Brown, who paid roughly $8 million. “I also like properties that seem to have a tremendous amount of upside potential. With over 2 acres of commercially zoned waterfront land, and with almost 30,000 square feet of buildings, there definitely is upside potential.
“This seems to check all of the boxes.”
Located in the 1500 block of Stickney Point Road at the mainland base of the south bridge, the property contains deeded canal-front access to Sarasota Bay, Little Sarasota Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway and is known for spacious water views. It also features multiple tenants beyond the restaurant, including a watersports rental operation and assorted boutiques.

A views of the parcel of businesses (as outlined) in the 1500 block of Stickney Point Road. (submitted photo)

Brown’s acquisition, as part of the Above the Bar Hospitality Group he operates with business partner Mike Granthon, is his second major one on Siesta Key’s south end; in 2022 he purchased for $7.3 million the plaza in the 1200 block of Old Stickney Point Road that is home to Crescent Beach Market and was first built in the 1950s.
“Again, these properties do not become available for decades,” Brown said of his subsequent purchase of the Boatyard parcel.
Previous to being called the Boatyard, the business was known as Coasters until 2010. Last year, Boatyard co-owners Karl Knocker and Madeline Nikolson were convicted of tax fraud charges related to the business.
Previous to that, most of Brown’s properties were situated in the Siesta Village. They include The Cottage, Hub Baja Grill, the Beach Club, My Village Pub, and the plaza that holds Morton’s Market.
Kevin Robbins and Troy Robbins of Harry E. Robbins Associates facilitated the transaction on behalf of the buyer and seller, according to a Feb. 2 press release.
“As a highly visible waterfront parcel so close to Siesta Key, this is obviously a very, very sought-after location. We fielded hundreds of requests for information on this listing, and we received multiple offers within a single week,” said Troy Robbins. “We only had three weeks to field offers, and we hosted multiple site visits with the buyers and the seller. Ultimately, we were able to put together a package offer that was acceptable for all parties — and all within that three-week window.”
Brown and his team are finalizing plans to upgrade the complex and promote a more customer friendly environment to benefit new and existing tenants, including the waterfront restaurant, boat rental, watersports facilitators and shopping boutiques, according to the announcement. Full plans for renovation and tenant mix will be released soon.
The property also contains existing parking as well as boat access for visitors.
“The Boatyard is an iconic property. This is a generational asset for someone to own and develop,” said Kevin Robbins. “There are not many opportunities to secure this kind of commercial property with frontage on the water, let alone a deeded canal access.
“The buyer is a well-established hospitality/restaurant operator with multiple locations. We are excited to see how this project will be improved and enhanced to benefit the community.”

Meanwhile, the Boatyard’s general manager expressed her support of the transaction.
“We welcome the new owners and look forward to the upgrades and improvements they are going to do for the Boatyard complex,” Siobhan Fox said.

A view of the Boatyard Waterfront Bar and Grill. (submitted photo)
John Morton
Author: John Morton

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